Background Notes: Egypt

PA/PC Source: Office of Public Communication, Bureau of Public Affairs Date: Dec 15, 199012/15/90 Region: MidEast/North Africa Country: Egypt Subject: Travel, History, International Organizations, Trade/Economics [TEXT] Official Name: Arab Republic of Egypt

PROFILE

Geography
Area: 1,001,450 sq. km. (386,650 sq. mi.); slightly smaller than Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas combined. Cities: Capital-Cairo (pop. over 12 million). Other cities-Alexandria (4 million), Aswan, Asyut, Port Said, Suez, Ismailia. Terrain: Desert except Nile Valley and Delta. Climate: Dry, hot summer, moderate winters.
People
Nationality: Noun and adjective-Egyptian(s). Population (1989): 54.8 million. Annual growth rate: 2.6%. Ethnic groups: Egyptian, Bedouin Arab, Nubian. Religions: Sunni Muslim 90%, Coptic Christian. Languages: Arabic (official), English, French. Education: Years compulsory-ages 6-12. Literacy-45%. Health: Infant mortality rate-(1989) 93/1,000. Life expectancy- 59.3 yrs. Work force: Agriculture-44%. Government, Public Service and Armed Forces-36%. Privately owned service and manufacturing enterprises-20%.
Government
Type: Republic. Independence: 1922. Constitution: 1971. Branches: Executive-president, prime minister, cabinet. Legislative-People's Assembly (444 elected and 10 presidentially appointed members) and Shura (Consultative) Council (140 elected members, 70 presidentially appointed). Judicial-Court of Cassation, State Council. Administrative subdivisions: 26 governorates. Political parties: National Democratic Party (ruling), New Wafd Party, Socialist Labor Party, Socialist Liberal Party, National Progressive Unionist Grouping, Umma Party. Suffrage: Universal over 18. Central government budget (FY 1989-90): $30.3 billion. Flag: Three horizontal stripes-red, white, and black from top to bottom-with a golden hawk in the center stripe.
Economy
GDP (FY 1987-88): $34.5 billion. Annual growth rate: 2%. Per capita GNP (1987 ): $680. Natural resources: Petroleum and natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, manganese, limestone, gypsum, talc, asbestos, lead, zinc. Agriculture: Products-cotton, rice, onions, beans, citrus fruits, wheat, corn, barley, sugar. Industry: Types-food processing, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, construction, light manufacturing, iron and steel products, aluminum, cement, military equipment. Trade (FY 1988-89): Exports-$2.5 billion: petroleum, cotton, manufactured goods. Major markets-United States, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, UK. Imports-$10.1 billion: foodstuffs, machinery and transport equipment, paper and wood products. Major suppliers- US, Germany, France, Japan, Netherlands, UK, Italy. Free market exchange rate: 2.59 Egyptian pounds=US$1 (fluctuates).
Membership in International Organizations
UN and some of its specialized and related agencies, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT); Arab League; Nonaligned Movement; Organization of African Unity (OAU); Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

PEOPLE

Egypt is the most populous country in the Arab world and the second most populous on the African Continent. Of the country's 54 million people, 99% live in Cairo and Alexandria, elsewhere on the banks of the Nile River, in the Nile Delta, which fans out north of Cairo, and along the Suez Canal. These regions are among the world's most densely populated, containing an average of over 1,450 persons per square kilometer (3,600 per sq. mi.). Small communities spread throughout the desert regions of Egypt are clustered around oases and historic trade and transportation routes. The government has tried, with mixed success, to encourage migration to newly irrigated land reclaimed from the desert. However, the proportion of the population living in rural areas has continued to decrease as people move to the cities in search of employment and a higher standard of living. The Egyptians are fairly homogenous: Mediterranean and Arab influences appear in the north, as well as some mixing in the south with the Nubians of northern Sudan. Ethnic minorities include a small number of Bedouin Arab nomads dispersed in the eastern and western deserts and in the Sinai, as well as some 50,000-100,000 Nubians clustered along the Nile in Upper Egypt. Before construction of the Aswan High Dam began, Nubian villages stretched irregularly along the Nile; they have since been relocated along the banks of Lake Nasser. The literacy rate is about 45% of the adult population. Education is free through university and compulsory from ages 6 to 12. About 87% of all children enter primary school; half of these drop out after their sixth year. There are 16,000 primary and secondary schools with some 10 million students and 12 major universities with about 500,000 students, as well as 67 teacher colleges. Major universities include those of Cairo (100,000 students) and Alexandria and the 1,000-year-old Al-Azhar University, one of the world's major centers of Islamic learning. Arabic is the official language. Egypt's vast and rich literature constitutes an important cultural element in the life of the country and in the Arab world as a whole. Its novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with new styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arab to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Egyptian books and films are available throughout the Middle East.

HISTORY

Egypt has endured as a unified state for more than 5,000 years, and archeological evidence indicates that a developed Egyptian society has existed much longer. Modern leaders urge Egyptians to take pride in their "pharaonic heritage" and in their descent from mankind's earliest civilized society. The Arabic word for Egypt is Misr, which originally connoted civilization or metropolis. Archeological findings show that primitive man lived along the Nile long before the dynastic history of the pharaohs began. By BC 6000, organized agriculture had appeared. In about BC 3100, Egypt was united under a ruler known as Mena, or Menes, who inaugurated the 30 pharaonic dynasties into which Egypt's ancient history is divided-the Old and Middle Kingdoms and the New Empire. For the first time, the use and management of vital resources of the Nile River came under one authority. The pyramids at Giza (near Cairo) were built in the 4th dynasty, showing the power of the pharaonic religion and state. The Great Pyramid, the tomb of Pharoah Khufu (also known as Cheops), is the only surviving example of what the ancients called the Seven Wonders of the World. Ancient Egypt reached the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial extent in the period called the New Empire (BC 1567-1085). Authority again was centralized, and a number of military campaigns brought Palestine, Syria, and northern Iraq under Egyptian control. The language of ancient Egypt was related to the Berber and Semitic languages, with a lesser Galla and Somali influence.
Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab Conquerors
In BC 525, the Persian warrior Cambyses, son of Cyrus the Great, led an invasion force that dethroned the last pharaoh of the 26th dynasty. The country remained a Persian province until the conquest of Alexander the Great in BC 332. This legendary figure founded and gave his name to Alexandria, the port city that became one of the great centers of the Mediterranean world. Located there was another "wonder"-the lighthouse at Pharos-and the largest libraries of the ancient world. With a population of 300,000, the city was a center of Hellenistic and Jewish culture. After Alexander's death in BC 323, the Macedonian commander, Ptolemy, established personal control over Egypt, assuming the title of pharaoh in BC 304. The Ptolemaic line ended in BC 30 with the suicide of Queen Cleopatra. The Emperor Augustus then established direct Roman control over Egypt, initiating almost seven centuries of Roman and Byzantine rule. According to tradition, St. Mark brought Christianity to Egypt in AD 37. The church in Alexandria was founded about AD 40, and the new religion spread quickly, reaching Upper Egypt by the second century. Following a brief Persian reconquest, Egypt was invaded and conquered by Arab forces in 642. A process of Arabization and Islamization ensued. Although a Coptic Christian minority remained-and remains today, constituting about 10% of the population-the Arabic language inexorably supplanted the indigenous Coptic tongue. For the next 1,300 years, a succession of Turkish, Arabic, Mameluke, and Ottoman caliphs, beys, and sultans ruled the country.
European Influence
Napoleon Bonaparte arrived in Egypt in 1798. The 3-year sojourn in Egypt (1798-1801) of Napoleon's army and a retinue of French scientists opened it to direct Western influence. Napoleon's adventure awakened Great Britain to the importance of Egypt as a vital link with India and the Far East and launched a century-and-a- half of Anglo-French rivalry over the region. An Anglo-Ottoman invasion force drove out the French in 1801, and following a period of chaos, the Albanian Muhammad Ali obtained control of the country. Ali ruled until 1849, and his successors retained at least nominal control of Egypt until 1952. He imported European culture and technology, introduced state organization of Egypt's economic life, improved education, and fostered training in engineering and medicine. His authoritarian rule also was marked by a series of foreign military adventures. Ali's successors granted to the French promoter, Ferdinand de Lesseps, a concession for construction of the Suez Canal-begun in 1859 and opened 10 years later. Their regimes were characterized by financial mismanagement and personal extravagance that led to bankruptcy. These developments led to rapid expansion of British and French financial oversight that, in turn, provoked popular resentment, unrest, and, finally, revolt in 1879. In 1882, British expeditionary forces crushed the revolt, marking the beginning of British occupation and the virtual inclusion of Egypt within the British Empire. Between 1883 and 1914, the British Agency was the real source of authority. It established special courts to enforce foreign laws for foreigners residing in the country. Such privileges for foreigners generated increasing Egyptian resentment. To secure its interests during World War I, Britain declared a formal protectorate over Egypt on December 18, 1914. This lasted until February 28, 1922, when, in deference to growing nationalist feelings, Britain unilaterally declared Egyptian independence. British influence, however, continued to dominate Egypt's political life, and fostered fiscal, administrative, and governmental reforms. In the postindependence period, three political forces competed with one another: the Wafd, a broadly based, nationalist political organization strongly opposed to British influence; King Fuad, whom the British had installed on the throne during the war; and the British themselves, who were determined to maintain control over the Suez Canal. Although both the Wafd and the king wanted to achieve independence from the British, they competed for control of Egypt. Other political forces emerging in this period included the Communist Party (1925) and the Muslim Brotherhood (1928), which eventually became a potent political and religious force. During World War II, British troops used Egypt as a base for Allied operations throughout the region. British troops were withdrawn to the Suez Canal area in 1947, but nationalist, anti- British feelings continued to grow after the war. Violence broke out in early 1952 between Egyptians and British in the canal area, and anti-Western rioting in Cairo followed. On July 22-23, 1952, a group of disaffected army officers led by Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser overthrew King Farouk, whom the military blamed for Egypt's poor performance in the 1948 war with Israel. Following a brief experiment with civilian rule, they abrogated the 1923 constitution and declared Egypt a republic on June 18, 1953. Nasser evolved into a charismatic leader with a broad following in the Arab world as a whole. Nasser and his "Free Officer" movement enjoyed almost instant legitimacy for ending 2,500 years of foreign rule. They were motivated by numerous grievances and goals but wanted especially to break the economic and political power of the landowning elite, to remove all vestiges of British control, and to improve the lot of the people, especially the fellahin (peasants). A secular nationalist, Nasser developed a foreign policy characterized by advocacy of pan-Arab socialism, leadership of the "nonaligned" or "Third World," and close ties with the Soviet Union. He sharply opposed the Western-sponsored Baghdad Pact (1955). When the United States held up military sales in reaction to Egyptian neutrality vis-a-vis Moscow, Nasser concluded an arms deal with Czechoslovakia in September 1955. When the United States and the World Bank withdrew their offer to help finance the Aswan High Dam in mid-1956, he nationalized the privately owned Suez Canal Company. The crisis that followed, exacerbated by growing tensions with Israel over guerrilla attacks from Gaza and Israeli reprisals, resulted in the invasion of Egypt that October by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel. While Egypt was defeated, the invasion forces were quickly withdrawn under heavy US pressure. The Suez war (or, as the Egyptians call it, the tripartite aggression) instantly transformed Nasser into an Egyptian and Arab hero. Nasser soon after came to terms with Moscow for the financing of the Aswan High Dam-a step that enormously increased Soviet involvement in Egypt and set Nasser's government on a policy of close ties with the Soviet Union. In 1958, pursuant to his policy of pan-Arabism, Nasser succeeded in uniting Egypt and Syria into the United Arab Republic. Although this union had failed by 1961, it was not officially dissolved until 1984. Nasser's domestic policies were arbitrary; frequently oppressive; yet generally popular. The regime jailed opponents often without trial. Nasser's foreign policies, among other things, helped provoke the Israeli air and armor strikes of June 1967 that virtually destroyed the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and led to Israel's occupation of the Sinai Peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and the Golan Heights. Despite this setback, Nasser was revered in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world until his death in 1970. After Nasser's death, one of the original Free Officers, Vice President Anwar el-Sadat, was elected president after Nasser's death. In 1971, Sadat concluded a treaty of friendship with the Soviet Union but, a year later, ordered Soviet advisers to leave Egypt. In 1973, he launched the October war with Israel, in which the Egyptian Armed Forces performed effectively. With his country's credibility restored, Sadat felt able, in 1974 and 1975, with US participation, to negotiate two Sinai disengagement agreements with Israel by which Egypt regained the Suez Canal and parts of the Sinai. In 1977, Sadat journeyed to Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Begin and to address the Israeli Knesset. This breakthrough foreshadowed the Camp David accords of September 1978 and the Egyptian-Israeli Peace Treaty of 1979, both negotiated with intensive US participation. Throughout this period, US-Egyptian relations steadily improved, but Sadat's willingness to break ranks by making peace with Israel earned him the enmity of most Arab states.
Camp David and the Peace Process
In a momentous change from the Nasser era, President Sadat shifted Egypt from a policy of conflict with Israel to one favoring peaceful accommodation through direct negotiation. Following the Sinai disengagement agreements of 1974 and 1975, a fresh opening for progress was created by Sadat's dramatic visit to Jerusalem in November 1977. This led to President Jimmy Carter's invitation to Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Begin to join him in trilateral negotiations at Camp David. The outcome was the historic Camp David accords, signed by Sadat and Begin and witnessed by Carter on September 17, 1978. These agreements comprise frameworks for a comprehensive settlement of the Middle East conflict and for a peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. Negotiations on bilateral peace began in October 1978 and were concluded with the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty on March 26, 1979. However, efforts at progress on the other framework, which provides for the establishment of transitional arrangements for the West Bank and Gaza, proved problematical. After Jordan and representative Palestinians declined to take part, the United States joined Egypt and Israel in the negotiations to shape an autonomous self-governing authority for the area. Some progress was made in bridging differences on the nature and responsibilities of the self-governing authority, but the negotiations ended in 1982 without a final accord on transitional arrangements. In domestic policy, Sadat introduced greater political freedom and a new economic policy, the most important aspect of which was the infitah, or "open door." This policy relaxed government controls over the economy and encouraged private investment. Sadat dismantled much of Nasser's police apparatus and brought to trial a number of former government officials accused of criminal excesses during his predecessor's rule. This liberalization also included the reinstitution of due process and the banning of torture. Sadat tried to expand participation in the political process in the mid-1970s but later abandoned this effort. In the last years of his life, Egypt was racked by violence arising from discontent with Sadat's rule and sectarian tensions, and it experienced a renewed measure of repression. On October 6, 1981, President Sadat was assassinated by Islamic extremists. Hosni Mubarak, vice president since 1975 and Air Force Commander during the October 1973 war, was elected president later that month. He was re-elected to a second term in October 1987. Mubarak has maintained Egypt's commitment to the Camp David peace process, while at the same time re-establishing Egypt's position as an Arab leader. Egypt's readmission to the Arab League in May 1989 effectively ended its ostracism from the Arab community. Egypt also has assumed a leading role for moderation in such international forums as the United Nations and the Nonaligned Movement. From July 1989 to July 1990, Mubarak was chairman of the Organization of African Unity. Domestically, Mubarak has supported the public sector of the economy while also encouraging the private sector. There has been a democratic opening and increased participation in the political process by opposition groups. The 1987 parliamentary elections were the fairest since 1952 and resulted in the election of 100 opposition members out of a total of 458 seats. Freedom of the press has increased greatly. While concern remains that economic problems could promote increasing dissatisfaction with the government, President Mubarak enjoys broad support.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The Egyptian constitution provides for a strong executive. Authority is vested in an elected president who can appoint one or more vice presidents, a prime minister, and a cabinet. The president's term runs for 6 years. Egypt's legislative body, the People's Assembly, has 454 members-444 popularly elected and 10 appointed by the president. The constitution reserves 50% of the assembly seats for workers and peasants. The assembly sits for a 5-year term but can be dissolved earlier by the president. There is also a 210-member National Shura (Consultative) Council, in which 70 members are appointed and 140 elected. The Shura Council has little real power. Below the national level, authority is exercised by and through governors and mayors appointed by the central government, and by popularly elected councils. Although power is concentrated in the presidency and the National Democratic Party's majority in the People's Assembly, opposition parties organize, publish their views, and represent their followers at various levels in the political system. In addition to the National Democratic Party, there are five legally constituted parties: the New Wafd Party, the Socialist Labor Party, the Nationalist Progressive Unionist Grouping, the Socialist Liberal Party, and the Umma Party. The New Wafd Party and the Socialist Labor Party (in alliance with the Socialist Liberals and the Muslim Brotherhood) won 90 seats in the People's Assembly in elections of April 1987. The law prohibits the formation of parties on religious or class lines, thereby making it illegal for Islamic or communist groups to organize formally as political parties. However, members of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization legally proscribed under the provisions of this law, are members of the assembly as part of the Socialist Labor Party delegation. Egypt's judicial system is based on European (primarily French) legal concepts and methods. Under the Mubarak government, the courts have demonstrated increasing independence, and the principles of due process and judicial review have gained greater respect. The legal code is derived largely from the Napoleonic code. Marriage and personal status are primarily based on the religious law of the individual concerned, which for most Egyptians is Islamic law. The process of gradual political liberalization begun by Sadat has continued under Mubarak, but the political process remains significantly restricted. Egypt now enjoys unprecedented freedom of the press, and opposition political parties operate freely. Although the April 1987 parliamentary elections were marked by the greatest freedom of political expression seen in Egypt for more than three decades, opposition parties continue to make credible complaints about electoral fraud by the government; in the 1989 Shura Council elections, for example, the ruling NDP won 100% of the seats. Nevertheless, the November 1990 assembly elections-in which a number of independent and non-NDP candidates won seats- are generally considered to have been free and fair. Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 2310 Decatur Place NW., Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-232-5400). The Washington Consulate has the same address (tel. 202-234-3903). The Egyptian Mission to the UN is located at 36 East 67th Street, New York, NY, (tel. 212-879-6300). Egyptian Consulates General are located at 1110 Second Avenue, New York, NY, 10022 (tel. 212-759- 7120); Houston, 2000 West Loop South, Suite 1750, Control Data Building, Houston, TX, 77027 (tel. 713-961-4915); Chicago, 505 N. Lakeshore Drive, Suite 4902, Chicago, IL, 60611 (tel. 312-670- 2655); and San Francisco at 3001 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94115 (TEL: 415-346-9700).

ECONOMY

Egypt's gross domestic product was about $34.5 billion in 1987-88. Agriculture and industry each contributed about 20% and services about 33% of GDP. Although Egypt's private sector is expanding, about 65% of its industry, including virtually all heavy industry, is owned by the state. State price controls affect many privately owned small- and medium-scale industries that often must compete with products subsidized by the government. Agriculture is mainly in private hands but is regulated through price controls, import allocations, and guidelines on production administered through local agricultural cooperatives. Construction, nonfinancial services, and domestic marketing are largely private.
Agriculture
More than one-third of the Egyptian labor force is engaged directly in farming, and many others work in the processing or trading of agricultural products. Practically all Egyptian agriculture takes place in some 2.5 million hectares (6 million acres) of fertile soil in the valley of the Nile and its delta regions. Although some desert lands are being developed for agriculture, fertile lands along the river are being lost to urbanization and erosion. The climate and ready availability of water, especially since the building of the Aswan Dam, permit several crops a year on the same piece of land. Although improvement is possible, agricultural productivity is high. Egypt has little subsistence farming. Cotton, rice, onions, and beans are the principal crops. Cotton is the largest agricultural export earner. The United States is a major supplier of wheat to Egypt, particularly through the PL 480 (Food for Peace) program, and other Western countries also have supplied food on concessional terms. "Egypt," wrote the Greek historian Herodotus 25 centuries ago, "is the gift of the Nile." The seemingly inexhaustible resources of water and soil carried by this mighty river created in the Nile Valley and Delta the world's most extensive oasis; without the Nile, Egypt would be little more than a desert wasteland. The river carves a narrow, cultivated floodplain, never more than 20 kilometers wide, as it travels northward from Sudan and forms Lake Nasser behind the Aswan High Dam. It then winds past the archeological wonders of Luxor (ancient Thebes) and the cities of Qena and Asyut. Just north of Cairo, the Nile spreads out over what was once a broad estuary that has been filled by riverine deposits to form a fertile delta about 250 kilometers wide (150 mi.) at the seaward base and about 160 kilometers (96 mi.) from south to north. Until the erection of dams on the Nile, particularly the Aswan High Dam, the fertility of the Nile Valley was dependent not only upon the flow of water but also upon the silt deposited by annual flood waters. Sediment is now obstructed by the Aswan High Dam and retained in Lake Nasser. The discontinuation of yearly, natural fertilization and the increasing salinity of the soil have detracted somewhat from the High Dam's value. Nevertheless, the benefits remain impressive: more intensive farming on millions of acres of land made possible by improved irrigation; prevention of damage caused by periodic serious flooding; and production of billions of kilowatt-hours of electricity yearly at very low cost. The Western Desert accounts for about two-thirds of the country's land area. For the most part, it is a massive sandy plateau marked by seven major depressions. One of these, Fayoum, was connected about 3,600 years ago to the Nile by canals and is now an important irrigated agricultural area. Egypt has few natural resources other than the agricultural capacity of the Nile Valley. The major minerals are petroleum, phosphates, and iron ore. The fall in world oil prices during the mid- 1980s had a severe impact on Egypt. In addition to a large drop in per-barrel oil earnings, Egypt's slow-moving price-setting mechanism prevented it from competing successfully for oil sales. As a consequence, Egyptian oil production in 1986 dropped below 1985 levels in spite of new additions to production capacity. As oil prices stabilized in late 1986, Egypt began to regain its share of the market. Petroleum exploration continues, particularly in the Western Desert. During 1988-89, Egyptian production of crude oil dropped 3.7% percent over the previous year to approximately 760,000 barrels per day. Egypt's crude oil exports in FY 1988/89 totaled $1.4 billion. The petroleum sector accounts for about 14% of Egypt's GDP and for about two-thirds of Egypt's exports. Egypt has benefited from higher oil prices resulting from the gulf crisis. However, the crisis has lowered remittances from workers abroad and reduced revenue from tourism and the Suez Canal.
Transport and Communication
Transportation facilities in Egypt follow the pattern of settlement along the Nile. The major rail line runs from Alexandria to Aswan. Other important lines run along the north coast to the Libyan border and eastward to the Suez Canal. Most paved and improved roads are found in the Nile Valley and Delta, near the Suez Canal, and along the Red Sea and Sinai coasts. The Nile River system (about 1,600 km. or 1,000 mi.) plus another 1,600 kilometers of navigable canals are important for inland transport. Major ports are Alexandria, Port Said, and Port Suez. Egypt long has been the cultural and informational center of the Arab Middle East, and Cairo is the region's largest publishing and broadcasting center. There are six daily newspapers with a total circulation of more than 1.7 million. In addition there are 14 weekly magazines and newspapers with a total circulation of 500,000 and a number of monthly newspapers, magazines, and journals. Every political party has its own newspaper contributing to a lively, often highly partisan debate on public issues. Under President Nasser, Egypt led the Arab world in developing a comprehensive broadcasting system. State-run operations are coordinated under the Egyptian Radio and Television Federation. The Egyptian Broadcasting Corporation operates seven domestic and four international radio stations, transmitting in 32 languages for a total of 180 hours a day. The state-owned Egyptian Television Organization operates two channels, broadcasting to a rapidly growing national audience.

DEFENSE

Egypt's armed forces are among the largest in the region and are divided into four services: the army (300,000), air defense (80,000), air force (29,000), and navy (20,000). In 1979, the United States began a military supply relationship with Egypt. Egypt's inventory also includes equipment from European sources-France, Italy, the United Kingdom, and China. Much of its motorized equipment is of Soviet origin, reflecting the long period of almost exclusive Soviet supply from the late 1950s until the 1973 war with Israel. Most of this equipment is now obsolete. Seeking to bolster stability and moderation in the region, Egypt has provided military assistance and training to a number of African and Arab states.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

Under President Mubarak, Egypt ended its ostracism from the Arab community without sacrificing its commitment to its peace treaty with Israel. It was readmitted to the Arab League in May 1989, marking its resumption of a leadership role among moderate Arab states. It now has formal diplomatic relationships with all Arab League members except Libya. In July 1989, Mubarak was elected to a 1-year term as Chairman of the Organization of African Unity, formalizing Egypt's growing leadership in African issues. Egypt actively works to resolve a number of difficult problems in Africa, including the dispute between Senegal and Mauritania, and the civil war in Sudan. Egypt has played a leading role in efforts to moderate the Nonaligned Movement and make it a more effective organization. There also has been a recent improvement in Egyptian- Soviet relations. Egypt's relations with Israel have improved in recent years, despite some disappointments on both sides. The two countries have solved a number of difficult bilateral issues through negotiation. In 1989, Israel turned over to Egypt a strip of land known as Taba, ending the last remaining territorial dispute between the two countries. Egypt and Israel have engaged in a useful program of cooperative research in agriculture and marine sciences. Throughout the 1980s, President Mubarak has led efforts to advance the Middle East peace process and has been highly supportive of US efforts. At the end of 1989, Egypt accepted US Secretary of State Baker's five points to begin discussions with Israel and the United States on Israeli Prime Minister Shamir's election plan. Egypt believes it is important to get Israel and Palestinians to begin negotiation, with the immediate focus on the proposal for elections in the occupied territories. It has encouraged serious consideration and discussion of Israel's election proposal by Palestinians.

US-EGYPTIAN RELATIONS

Since his election in October 1981, President Mubarak has strongly supported a special US-Egyptian relationship, based on shared interests in regional security and stability and the need for a peaceful resolution of outstanding problems. The two countries have worked together to promote a peaceful settlement of the Arab- Israeli conflict, to resolve a number of difficult conflicts in Africa, and to resist Libyan aggression against Chad and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. President Mubarak visited the United States twice during 1989, and he and President Bush discuss mutual concerns by phone periodically. An important pillar of the bilateral relationship remains US security and economic assistance to Egypt, which expanded significantly in the wake of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979. In FY 1989, total US assistance levels to Egypt remained stable at $1.3 billion in foreign military sales (FMS ) grants, $815 million in economic support funds grants, and $170 million in PL 480 food aid. The Egyptians have used FMS funds for their military modernization program-a transition from their former Soviet- model military structure to a smaller, higher quality military that is dependent on Western, primarily US, equipment, logistics, tactics, and training. US assistance promotes Egypt's economic development and supports US-Egyptian cooperation. US economic aid helps stimulate economic growth by funding commodity imports, such as raw materials and capital equipment, and electric power, telecommunications, housing and transport projects. Power plants built with US assistance generate more electricity than the Aswan Dam. In 1983, the United States agreed to a 5-year, $1 billion program to overhaul the water and sewage systems of Cairo, Alexandria, and other Egyptian cities. US military cooperation has helped Egypt modernize its deteriorating Soviet-supplied weaponry and improve its ability to support regional security and stability. Under FMS programs, the United States provides F-4 jet aircraft, F-16 jet fighters, M60A3 tanks, armored personnel carriers, antiaircraft missile batteries, aerial surveillance aircraft, and other equipment. In addition to military assistance, the United States and Egypt participate in combined military exercises which include deployment of US troops to Egypt. Units of the US Sixth Fleet are regular visitors to Egyptian ports. The US Embassy in Cairo is located at 5 Sharia Latin America, Garden City, Cairo; American Embassy, FPO NY, 09527 (tel. 355- 7371; telex: 93773 AMEMB). The Consulate General in Alexandria is located at 110 Avenue Horreya; American Consulate General Alexandria, c/o American Embassy, Box 27, FPO NY 09527 (tel. 482-1911).
Principal Government Officials
President-Muhammad Hosni Mubarak Prime Minister-Atef Sedky Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs-Esmat Abdel-Meguid Minister of State for Foreign Affairs-Boutros Boutros Ghali Ambassador to the United States-Abdel Raouf El-Reedy Ambassador to the United Nations-Amr Musa
Principal US Officials
Ambassador-Frank G. Wisner Deputy Chief of Mission-Wesley Egan Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs-Paul Balabanis Counselor for Political Affairs-Stanley Escudero Counselor for Commercial Affairs-Frederic Gaynor Counselor for Public Affairs-Kenton Keith Counselor for Agricultural Affairs-Frank Lee Counselor for Administrative Affairs-James McGunnigle Consul General-Vincent Battle Labor Affairs Officer-Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley Director, AID Mission-Marshall D. Brown Defense Attache-Col. David Lemon, USA Chief, Office of Military Cooperation-Maj. Gen. William Fitzgerald, USA Consul General in Alexandria-Robert Maxim

TRAVEL NOTES

Climate and clothing: Clothing should be suitable for hot summers and temperate winters. Modest attire is appropriate. Customs: Visas are required. Travelers are advised to obtain visas through any Egyptian Embassy or consulate prior to travel. Visas usually can be obtained on arrival, but this can result in delays. Shots are not required by the Egyptian government for visitors coming from the United States or Europe, but cholera immunizations are required of travelers coming from infected areas. The Department of State Medical Division recommends that visitors to Egypt obtain cholera, typhoid, tetanus, polio, meningitis, and hepatitis (gamma globulin) immunizations; travelers should consult their physicians. Health: Travelers should be aware of rabies hazards and malaria in some outlying areas. Telecommunications: Telephone service can be erratic. Telegrams can be sent from the main post office and hotels, and telex service is available. Cairo is 7 time zones ahead of eastern standard time. Transportation: Domestic and international airlines serve Cairo. Domestic air service from Cairo to Alexandria, Aswan, Luxor, Hurghada, and the Sinai is available. Rail service is available from Cairo to Aswan in the south and Alexandria in the north. Taxis are often shared with other customers. Settle on a price before entering a taxi. Published by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of Public Communication , Washington, DC, December 1990. Editor: Peter A. Knecht. Department of State Publication 8152. Background Notes Series. This material is in the public domain and may be reprinted without permission; citation of this source is appreciated. For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. (###)